The Santa Cops are back

The Santa Cops project is a delightful effort to make the holiday season a bit brighter for area youngsters whose families need a hand up to make this time of year as merry as it should be.

Members of the Fort Dodge Police Association and the Webster County Deputies Association as well as Iowa State Patrol officers, Webster County/Fort Dodge reserves personnel and officers from smaller police departments in the county are collaborating on a truly inspiring holiday undertaking. Officers take the young folks on $100 holiday shopping sprees.

Area schools help pair law enforcement officers with needy families and children. The program is funded through private donations. The officers participate during time off from regular duties, but are in uniform for the shopping trip to the local Target store.

One particularly important aspect of the program is that children get to have one-on-one contact with an officer in a totally different environment than they would on the street. This helps shape positive attitudes regarding the role of law enforcement personnel in our community.

This is a marvelous holiday tradition that benefits both the children and the law enforcement officers who participate.

The adults say they are impressed and inspired by the generosity the young shoppers show. Frequently, the youngsters are more focused on what they can get for their loved ones than on fulfilling their own desires.

Looking for evidence of the Christmas spirit? You need look no farther than the Santa Cops and these youngsters.

Donations to keep this holiday tradition thriving for many years to come can be sent to the Santa Cops program in care of the Fort Dodge Police Department, 702 First Ave. S., Fort Dodge, IA 50501.